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Home Feature - Soft Plastics Additional Tips on Fishing the Swimming Senko

Additional Tips on Fishing the Swimming Senko

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April 15, 2010


By Bob Lechel

One of Gary Yamamoto’s favorite baits, the Swimming Senko, has been on the market for several years.  Gary showed the world its effectiveness right out of the gate with several high placing money finishes on the FLW Tour using this bait.  I’d like to expand on those tips with a few methods that I’ve employed successfully (some mine and some from the Pros).  These may seem like “no brainers”, and to execute them they really are, but not everyone is familiar with how to fish this bait, so I’ll be explaining these additional methods or “tweaks” to existing methods. They’ve put fish in the boat for me.

The Pitching Riglechel-swimsenko01

This is one of my favorite applications for the Swimming Senko and I use it quite frequently from pre-spawn through post spawn.  It really shines when fish are suspending off the bottom in cover or next to vertical structure (bluff walls or drop offs).  I rig a 1/32 or 1/16 oz bullet weight tex-posed rig using a 4/0 or 5/0 heavy wire, wide gap, off-set hook.  I actually use the 1/16 oz lead weight most of the time as it creates a more streamlined nose, allowing the rig to come through the cover more easily, especially old hard woods.  I usually peg it with a rubber bobber stop, but after reading Gary’s tips I plan to try the pig tail weights if it will increase the tail action and effectiveness of the bait.  The screw-in weights only go down to 1/16 oz., so if you want to try the 1/32 (which I use when it is dead calm) you’ll need to go with a regular bullet weight, and I would advise pegging it.

I try to pitch to the cover from as far away as is practical. This rig is really effective with suspended fish and I don’t want to spook fish by getting too close.  I peel off some extra line after the bait hits the water to ensure it falls straight down into the cover or along the vertical structure.  These lighter weights allow the Swimming Senko to nose down into the cover and the swim tail to do its thing with its seductive “thump, thump, thump”.  The light weight keeps the bait in the strike zone longer as the fall rate is moderate to slow.

lechel-swimsenko02About 60% of my bites come on the initial drop, either on the way down or as it hits bottom.  This is common with many soft plastic presentations.  What’s interesting is that the other 40% of the time, when I’m lifting the bait up out of the cover and the bait is just cresting, it pauses for a second as the upward momentum shifts and it starts back down.  I’ve had fish come crashing through the cover and hammer it at this point, so it’s a good idea to be ready.  If your rod is high and not in a good position to set the hook, you’ll lose fish.  This happened to me the first time or two.  I recommend using a high speed reel (7:1 ratio) to allow you to quickly recover the line, allowing for a good hook set.

I typically use a 7 ft heavy action rod with 16 to 20 lb fluorocarbon line.  This is not a finesse technique and you need enough back bone to drive the heavy gauge hook home.  This rig has its limitations - it won’t penetrate thick or matted cover and if the wind is high you are out of luck.  In either of these cases, the typical heavier rigs for pitching and flipping outlined in Gary’s tips will need to be employed.

Carolina Rig

I haven’t seen many guys using the Swimming Senko on a Carolina rig (C-rig).  I quickly became a convert about three years ago.  I’m not a big C-rig guy but when I use this technique (Morgan Lake, NM or Amistad Lake, TX) the Swimming Senko has been really effective.  The C-rig, by design, allows an angler to cover deep water quickly by dragging a soft plastic on a leader behind a heavy weight.  The Swimming Senko adds in a new twist with its swim bait tail action while its streamlined design allows it to come through cover extremely well.  The added benefit of the Swimming Senko on a C-rig is when you have to lift the weight over some cover or structure the resistance of the swim tail kicking slows the fall of the bait back to the bottom.  Whether you employ the typical pull/drag with your rod or have to pull it up through cover, it works.  I typically use a ¾-1oz tungsten weight with 20lb fluorocarbon mainline with a 16 or 20 lb fluorocarbon 2-3 ft leader depending on how thick the cover is.

Vibrating Jig

Brett Hite won back-to-back FLW events in 2008 with a vibrating jig and Swimming Senko trailer.  Brett’s success served notice to the fishing community about trailing a vibrating jig with the lechel-swimsenko03Swimming Senko.  Since then I’ve been using the Swimming Senko regularly as a trailer on my vibrating jigs and believe that it has its place along with the standard split tail trailer or fluke for several reasons.  The added action of the swimbait tail to the vibrating jig while it’s in motion is awesome.  Also, if you kill/pause the bait next to cover, the blade action stops but the Swimming Senko tail continues to “thump” as the bait falls.  This has generated many strikes from fish reluctant to chase a bait out of the cover, and it’s very similar to how one would “kill/pause” a spinnerbait and let it fall next to cover.

Additionally, you can recycle Swimming Senkos you have already used with the traditional methods.  Don’t throw them away!  I always shorten the 5” Swimming Senko before I thread it on the vibrating jig hook anyway.  Shortening a used Swimming Senko gives you a solid piece of plastic to use as a trailer.  This is an excellent way to get the most bang for your buck out of these baits.

For more information on how to utlizine the Swim Senko straight from Gary, click here.

"A New Senko Comes On Board" - by Steve Price

"The Swimming Senko" - by Paul Crawford


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#2 2011-02-18 20:06
Thanks for your tips please visit Namun for cooperation with me
#1 2011-02-02 17:54
thank you for theadvice on the vibrating jig the trailer idea is great your articles are awsome. im impressed that you all take the time to share your wisdom ,again thankyou cw

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